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Defense argues for new trial in Greenbrier Nursing malpractice suit

$5.2 M in damages 'excessive,' defense says

Posted: July 9, 2013 - 5:09pm

A ruling is expected Thursday on a motion requesting a new trial in the civil medical malpractice and neglect case against Greenbrier Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and owner Thomas Morton.

In May a Faulkner County jury awarded representatives of the estate of Martha Bull, a woman who died at the facility in 2008, $5.2 million in damages for pain and suffering.

The defense’s motion requesting a new trial states the jury’s verdict is not supported by substantial evidence and demonstrates passion or prejudice.

The defense argued Monday that the $5.2 million in damages is excessive based on the jury’s not guilty verdict to the plaintiffs’ wrongful death claim.

The jury found the center and owner guilty of ordinary and medical negligence, and guilty of infringing upon or depriving Bull of her resident’s rights, which caused her damages or injury.

After Bull’s death, the Department of Health and Human Services completed a report from a state agency investigation that states the center failed to ensure necessary care and failed to ensure the patient’s physician was consulted regarding a significant decline in condition.

The complaint issued by plaintiffs alleged Bull died at the facility while a fax order from her doctor recommending she be transported for emergency care went unseen on a machine in the hall near where Bull resided.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers argued there is no reason to overturn the jury’s verdict awarding $5.2 million in damages because sufficient evidence supports the claim that the defendant’s negligence caused physical and mental injury to Bull.

Circuit Court Judge Mike Maggio presided over the jury trial and will rule on Monday’s motions.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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